First Day Hike gets new year off on right foot

Published 12:48 am Friday, January 2, 2015

Editor’s note: The state offered First Day Hikes at every state park in North Carolina on Thursday. Here’s a report from a nearly 3-mile-long trail near Albemarle.

By Russ Stevens

Special to the Salisbury Post

After reading the article in last Sunday’s Post on the First Day Hike at Morrow Mountain State Park, personal insanity set in. I decided to go for it. Getting up early to get there was a bit of challenge after staying up with my wife to welcome the New Year, but I got out of the house on time to get to the trailhead about 10 minutes early. There was a group of about 35 ready to go at 10 a.m., so off we went.

The hike was rated as moderate to strenuous, and the first part was moderate. Even the detour that erroneously added about 1 mile to the 2.8 mile Sugarloaf Mountain Trail for me and a few others was still moderate. It was the short hike up the mountain that was strenuous and that involved more than one stop to catch breath for me and many others. By then I was shedding outer clothing, even though it was still in the low 40s.

If you’ll pardon the overused phrase, from the top “it was all downhill.”

When I got home, my wife asked if I was going to do it again and I answered in the affirmative. It was fun and well worth my time and effort. When looking into this program, I noticed there were other hikes that were less vigorous, like at Lake Norman State Park, for those who might not be able to do the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail. I intend to recommend the activity to my friends.

Maybe next year I’ll take a carload down to Morrow Mountain State Park. And next year, I won’t miss that one turnoff on the trail.

Russ Stevens lives in Salisbury and teaches college courses online.